United 4-1 Third Lanark
Having been edged out of the Thomsons Trophy semi-final by Newshot a week ago, United Men’s Saturday Team were back to WoSAFL duty looking to bounce back against the team they’d eliminated on penalties a month previously to set up that day out at New Western Park.
There was not much between the two teams for the majority of the first half. Hawraz made a very strong start to the game in United’s midfield. He broke up a lot of play making interceptions, winning many tackles and headers, he was definitely the game’s stand out performer in the opening half hour. United's midfield battled well but struggled to link up in attack. Davy T’s shot was blocked from a tight angle having latched on to Roddy’s great pass up the left wing. He forced a smart save from the goalkeeper soon after as momentum tossed and turned. The whole dynamic of the match changed 10mins before half-time when Donald beat the Third Lanark offside trap and raced through on goal, only to be unceremoniously hauled down. Last-man tackle, the referee had little option but to show a red card. The match remained goalless when the half time whistle blew.
Determined to make their numerical advantage count, United were quick out the blocks in the second half. The deadlock was broken within ten minutes of the re-start. Donald won the race to reach a ball played into the channel. He held up the ball well, turned his opponent and darted into the box. Harry had made up the ground to support him and was well placed to meet Donald’s cross and smash the ball home from close range. 1-0 United. Having turned his ankle in the first half on the uneven surface, an assist would be Donald’s last action as he succumb to his injury. Sunday Team loanee, Hama, would replace him.
Third Lanark rallied and responded with a well worked goal of their own but United’s determination would not see the scores level for long. They’d take the game by the scruff of the neck and, with blistering pace up front and in wide areas, looked to stretch Third Lanark at every opportunity. Harry’s ability to find space to receive the ball caused chaos within opposition ranks all day. He had a big part in the move that restored United’s lead. Hama flirted with the offside line more than necessary but this time timed his run to reach Harry’s incisive pass. There was no chance anybody was going to catch him and he soundly dispatched beyond the goalkeeper to put United 2-1 up.
Their lead was extended when another run by Harry saw him on the ball in the box once more. He played in Kevin who could’ve taken the shot himself but unselfishly tee’d up Davy T instead. With time and space 6 yards out, Davy was never going to miss and fired home. 3-1 United.
Mohamed Mna and Amin replaced Kevin and Hawraz. Despite having a player less, Third Lanark were not content to try to sit in and defend. United’s back-four deserve credit for their diligence in defence and ability to recycle possession as Third Lanark continued to press forward and leave gaps in behind. Those gaps were exploited and another killer pass from Harry set Hama free again. He rounded the goalkeeper to score his second of the day. That would settle the tie and United cruised from there on. Mohamed Mna almost added a cherry on top of a great victory with a magnificent solo run late in the game. As he jinked and danced his way between four opponents, he twice faked to shoot and tied them up in knots. After sidestepping flailing bodies, when he did shoot it was straight at the goalkeeper. What a goal that would have been!
A convincing win for United that has been deserved for a few matches now. The only sour note being Donald's ankle injury which looked serious. Whiskey and coke is a decent painkiller, or so we're told, and his teammates bought him a few after the match, and will miss his contribution to the side.
UNITED: Paul G, Gerry, Bobby, Kwaby, Roddy, Kevin (Mohamed Mna 70'), Chris M, Hawraz (Amin 75'), Davy T, Harry, Donald (Hama 60')
Goals: Harry, Davy T, Hama (x2)
Yellow Card: Mohamed Mna
PoTM: Hawraz + Bobby